UK author Fiona Linday supported literacy in schools for many years. Then the local author wrote for young adults—Get Over It, Adventures, 2009, Onwards & Upwards—before her prize-winning short story, Off the Beaten Track, was published. She won the Unique Writing Publications Story Award with prose non-fiction entitled Love, in Spiritual Awakenings.
Linday was published in an eBook anthology of short stories, The Heavenly Road Trip with Help For Writers and also self-published the Great War Winners family history booklet for 7-11 year-olds. She now enjoys freelance facilitating at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester University. With lifelong learners, she edited Family Matters: an Anthology of New Writing, Dahlia Publishing, 2019, receiving Arts Council England support. Another commissioned anthology, Making Our World Better, by Dahlia Books, followed in 2022. She brought together her own collection of short stories & poetry in 2021, Count Our Blessings by Onwards & Upwards.
She delivers Creative Mentoring in schools through the Mighty Creatives Charity. The illustrated picture booklets, Sofia Swan Flies the Nest & Felicity Frog Finds Her Way, form part of her Wild Animal Splash Landings series. They inform infants of natural habitats of wildlife with positive identity affirmations modelled in nature.
What inspired you to start writing this book?
A desire to help children with care experience as they successfully journey through early settings.
By showing a mixed heritage 5-year-old boy like them thriving, these readers can engage with the book contents to feel accepted.
Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
This picture book needed to appeal to little stars who love ‘superheroes’, so I thought I’d include it in the title, thus New Friends Are Superheroes. In effect, the children living across two homes are the real superheroes so should connect with the main character.
Describe your dream book cover.
My dream book cover would reflect the entire picture book contents. With an exciting seaside backdrop, it would show Arun having fun with his foster family and the seal pup launching itself into the sea. Thus, the book cover would imply moving on and independence.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
I’m a creative mentor for children & young people in and leaving the care system. I’ve worked in Primary Education setting for a couple of decades.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
The children I work with often face barriers to learning or creativity through being marginalized by moving homes or changing carers. So, I admire the courage of such children and wish to highlight the fabulous work of foster parents. I hope that by these fostered children readers seeing a child like them in a picture book they will feel valued.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
Ideally, normalizing the scenario of children placed in foster families will help raise awareness to readers of households where the children live across two settings. Many split families will enjoy reading about how Arun makes new friends. My aim is to show a child’s ability to move on from family disruption without stigmatism. Championing child resilience is my aim to boost child self-esteem.
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